More than 80 per cent of global finance firms experienced an external attack on their systems last year.
According to Deloitte's 2004 Global Security Survey, 40 per cent of respondents said breaches had resulted in financial loss.
"Financial institutions, particularly security officers, are facing greater challenges than ever," says Simon Owen, partner at Deloitte. "They are fighting an on-going battle to overcome evolving security threats and to comply with an increasingly stringent regulatory environment but, at the same time, resources have stagnated."
Even with security attacks on the rise, the largest number of respondents (25 per cent) reported flat security budget growth.
The survey also found companies slid backwards in the use of security technologies. More than 70 per cent of respondents saw viruses and worms as the greatest threat in the next 12 months, but only 87 per cent fully deployed anti-virus measures, a drop from 96 per cent in 2003.
Ten per cent of respondents said their general management perceived security as a business enabler, and only half (51 per cent) took into account personnel within their business continuity plans.